Fall Semester - Year 1

COURSE NUMBERCOURSE TITLE CREDITS
CMD-601 COLOR AND MATERIALS STUDIO I 3
CMD-603 BUSINESS, CUSTOMER AND USER RESEARCH 3
CMD-605 COLOR LAB 3
DGR-613 GRADUATE SEMINAR I 3
STUDIO ELECTIVE 3
TOTAL CREDITS: 15

WINTER SEMESTER - YEAR 1

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDITS
CMD-602 COLOR AND MATERIALS STUDIO II 3
CMD-604 TREND FORECASTING AND FUTURE PLANNING 3
CMD-606 MATERIALS LAB 3
DGR-717 BUSINESS PRACTICES I 3
STUDIO ELECTIVE 3
TOTAL CREDITS: 15

FALL SEMESTER - YEAR 2

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDITS
CMD-607 APPLIED MATERIALS AND PROCESSES 3
CMD-701 COLOR AND MATERIALS STUDIO III 3
DGR-711 GRADUATE THESIS I 6
DGR-718 BUSINESS PRACTICES II 3
TOTAL CREDITS: 15

WINTER SEMESTER - YEAR 2

COURSE NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDITS
CMD-702 COLOR AND MATERIALS STUDIO IV 3
DGR-712 GRADUATE THESIS II 6
DGR-719 BUSINESS PRACTICES III 3
STUDIO ELECTIVE 3
TOTAL CREDITS: 15
  1. Business Practices
  2. Graduate Seminar
  3. Color and Material Lab
  4. Materials and Processes
  5. Contextual Design Research
  6. Graduate Studio
  7. Graduate Thesis

Business Practices I
Marketing as a Strategy: “The Big Picture”

This course is designed around a framework that organizes and interrelates marketing topics into succinct modules. Using the textbook, Marketing: The Big Picture by Christie Nordheilm, students will apply the Big Picture framework to a live “mini” case that they choose and write themselves using a carefully designed template. Students will then take a leadership role in managing the discussion of these mini-cases. In this way, the class will maximize their relevance to current business practices and also acquaint the students with the ‘business case’ format. Students will also leverage a simulation tool, the Big Picture Simulation, to test their knowledge of the concepts learned in class.

Within the Big Picture framework we conceive of marketing broadly. Rather than being a subset of corporate strategy, marketing can be elevated to include business strategy itself. What distinguishes marketing can be summarized in a single word: CUSTOMERS. Students will explore the following questions:

  • How can marketing best accomplish the business objective? Will it acquire new customers or make the existing ones more valuable to the firm? (i.e., what is the marketing objective?) Will it attract new customers to its category or steal customers from its competitors (i.e., what is its primary source of volume?) And, while we're at it, what is the product category?
  • Which customers should we be talking to?  Why? (i.e., segmentation and targeting)
  • What should we be saying to them?  What will convince them that our firm, products or services offers them a dynamic advantage over the alternatives? (i.e., positioning)
  • How should we convey this message?  What features of our offer will be compelling?  How shall we price our offer?  Where and how should the offering be distributed?  How and where will we inform our customer of these features? (i.e., the “4 Ps” of product, price, placement, and promotion)? And finally, what additional information do we need to make better decisions about creating customer value in order to meet our business objective? (i.e., market research)

Students will learn that the primary task of marketing is to achieve the company’s overall business objective by creating and communicating value to the customer.  

Business Practices II
Entrepreneurial Essentials

Course Description

The course is designed to offer students a hands-on understanding of Entrepreneurship, experience developing the business case for an important project, and writing and presenting key documents for the business case including an elevator pitch, a 2-3 page executive summary and a 5 to 7 page mini-business plan.  Using a combination of e-learning materials, books, in-class presentations and discussions, students will develop a pragmatic understanding of what is required to develop a concept through to commercialization. Students will develop their own ideas initially and then choose one concept to work with in a small team to develop fully and present as a semester final presentation. Throughout the semester students will work on their own thesis business case and prepare a final 5 to 7 page mini-plan and supporting financials.

Using a 10 module e-learning course, Cantillon, as a supplement, the class will explore each of the major topics for entrepreneurship and new business case development.  The first units will explain the entrepreneurial road and how a business case is developed. The student will use the lectures and case examples to take their business idea and develop a short two minute elevator pitch presentation to articulate the ‘Wow’ in the idea and establish a reason for people to want to know more.  Using additional course units as a guide and accompanying examples, the students will prepare a 2-3 page executive summary for this business case.

With the assistance of guest lecturers and field research, students will prepare a marketing and finance plan for their business case. The exploration will include developing ‘use case’ scenarios and customer personas. Leveraging their market research skills from Business Practices I, the students will develop and size the market segments for this product or service and provide narrative on the path into the target beachhead market. The teams will identify the risks for market entry and the key differentiation for their product and the development of a product family as well as partners and allies to take the product to market. Rounding out the plan, the students will define the product roadmap and the rough budget and finance plan to meet the business goals and test the plan for feasibility.

Graduate Seminar
Foundations of Global Thinking

Seminar I brings together the full cohort of CCS graduate students where they are exposed to key contemporary issues influencing the design professional. Students will attend lectures and workshops with visiting artists, designers, as well as related industry and academic leaders. Graduate Seminar I serves to advance both the investigative and critical writing skills of students. Social context, sustainability, and ethics will be some of the themes addressed, possibly structured within a colloquial format. This Seminar requires extensive reading, research, and short, fast-paced assignments set in the various workshops. Students participate in individual and group presentations in the Seminar.

“Think globally, act locally” is a catchphrase that’s been used since the early 1970s in a wide range of contexts, from management theory to environmental and social activism. But just what does it mean? This seminar provides a foundation for thinking about economic, political, cultural, and aesthetic issues in a global context, especially as they might inform the student’s local action, i.e. individual design practice. The seminar begins by examining the process of exchange and in particular the way humans interact with one another through market transactions. Students then examine various ways of understanding globalization as an economic and cultural system. Subsequent classes focus on the mechanisms of the global market and the increasingly important role design has come to play. Of particular concern are the aesthetic and informational values built into production and consumption practices. This further entails consideration of questions of sustainability and ethics. Provisions are made to accommodate the exploration of individual and group interests as the semester progresses.

Graduate Color Lab
Color is Open to Interpretation

This course is built on the understanding that we never see a color as it actually is. Color is more than a spectrum of reflected light frequencies with given names. Color is open to interpretation and students will learn how to observe, use and talk about color effectively. Students will discover through hands-on exercises and keen observation that color deceives, is elusive in nature, and always acts in context.  Visual perception can be increased and refined and when utilized can lead toward discovery and invention. Students will learn how this experience can be expansive and how it can impact other disciplines. Above all, this is a course in learning to think and solve problems with your eyes. Reading outside of class will be expected to achieve a deeper understanding of the principles and subject matter that will be covered in class. Students will develop skills in Color Lab that will be essential to work in subsequent design studios.

Graduate Materials Lab
Examine Materials Properties

Getting to know a material is an essential part of a designer's job. In Materials Lab students engage in a series of experiments that examine material properties. Exploring the familiar and unfamiliar as new surfaces and forms are developed.  The course supports the student in developing and innovating ideas using both proven and non-traditional techniques.  Working in shop and studio environments, projects will immerse students in developing both 2D and 3D surfaces and forms that seek to present new and innovative concepts. The course offers opportunities for both structured group projects and self-directed learning.

Materials and Processes
A Comprehensive Study through Lecture and Field Experience

This class will be broken into separate sessions, each covering a variety of materials, processes, and applications. The students will be exposed to class lectures, visiting speakers and manufacturing field trips to gain first hand knowledge of materials and processes. They will also be introduced to resources they can draw upon to locate manufacturers and material suppliers.

Contextual Design Research I
Business, Customer and User Research Methods

This course introduces the methods, tools, and techniques of research that are relevant to designing with people in mind for product, experience, space, or service. The methods and tools fall in the categories of 'what people say,' 'what people do,' and 'what people need.' Business, Customer and User Research methods will be primarily lecture-based, but will also include a variety of hands-on learning activities that are applicable at all points along the design process. Students will practice developing and conducting surveys, interviews, field observational research, and focus groups to identify unmet needs that are both articulated and unarticulated

 

Contextual Design Research II
Trend Forecasting and Future Scenario Planning

In this course, students will learn how to identify, assess, and forecast both long-term and short-term trends that can be researched through a variety of information sources, consumer demographics, developments in technology, manufacturing and the sciences as well as cultural, social, environmental  and economic influences. Students will explore how trends shape values and behaviors that lie deep in all of us; and, as importantly, how these values and behaviors influence the ways we perceive and adopt new ideas. Uncovering these insights in a rapidly changing world is an increasingly important challenge for all professional designers.

The ability to understand and identify trends and their impact on consumer behavior is an important skill that will be utilized within the structure of the color and materials design courses.

Graduate Color and Materials Studio I

In this class students will craft a consumer and brand appropriate narrative through the application of color and materials choices. This class will challenge students to develop color, material and finish concepts for a product, with an emphasis on research, integrating materials and processes with forward thinking, with specific focus on new and innovative solutions.

Students will work on a product or range of products within an industry where color and materials are key to the design and marketing strategy, leading in-depth research on consumer trends, insights, for a focused market segment/category and show innovative use of materials, color and pattern.

The range of product topics might include, electronic, automotive, product or accessory design.

This class will introduce students to the design phases commonly used within the design process and familiarize students with tools and practices used by color and material design professionals

Graduate Color and Materials Studio II
Defining Brands

Students will explore the role of color and materials in defining a brand's identity. Through research they will discuss how companies have strategically used design, color and materials to elevate their brand in the market place as well as attract and maintain customers. Students will research a particular company's brand history, its current product lines, the competitive landscape and its consumer segmentation.

Students will then narrow their focus to a specific product line and evolve the line to fit a future scenario. The ideation phase will consist of trend research pertinent to the brand. For example, if the brand has a fashion element, students will access trend forecast services to research emerging colors, materials and finishes. If the brand and its product line are technology-centric, researching advanced materials may be more relevant to the project. The final phase will involve future brand strategy based on research findings, trend boards and color, material and finish direction. 

Graduate Color and Materials Studios III
Material Innovation

Today being material-minded is an integral part of the design process. Designers are required to understand how materials impact the design process from start to finish.

Students will conduct in-depth research to explore the latest advances in materials, looking at current and future possibilities in industry and craft applications. How can material innovation influence design and making?

Students will be challenged to design and create a product or line of products with a focus on innovative use of materials. Collaborating with industry experts in a range of sectors, they will demonstrate their insight into the material category and explore current as well as traditional techniques.

In line with consumer choices being more eco-minded, and an interest in the impact of materials on the environment and society, students will also have the opportunity to focus on smart and sustainable materials, as well as the concept of repurposing.

Graduate Color and Materials Studio IV

This studio recognizes that color and materials designers participate in a range of activities that are complex and numerous. 

Students will target a product or product line, where the color, materials and finishes and patterns are a key component of its success in the market place. Using their imagination and investigative skills, students will create strategies for color, materials, pattern and or finishes; their proposals will include category specific direction accompanied by creative narratives that connect customers to product.

Students will deliver believable concepts through collaboration with industry experts. Developing appropriate proposals with regards to quality, manufacturability and aesthetics.

In this class students will grow their professionalism within the color, materials and finish design experience and gain knowledge in market and lifestyle trends that influence and impact the product category. The course is designed to reflect the color and materials designers’ professional experience. 

 

Graduate Thesis I

This course is designed to help students articulate and execute a body of work that is the culmination of his/her graduate study experience. Students should be able to synthesize external factors – such as technological, global, environmental issues and trends, including social change – translate them into a form that is meaningful in a business setting, and create relevant design solutions. “Relevant” in this context requires that students’ design solutions resonate with an identified market segment, from all design and functional standpoints.

Graduate Thesis I is a self-driven, studio course where each student will follow a design development path that commences with a rigorous research phase. A business case and/or a creative brief will grow out of the research findings and will serve as the plan of work for the completion of the Thesis. Students will be expected to work through the subsequent phases, each phase resulting in a high-quality set of deliverables, culminating in a final presentation that will be either digitally created or hand-built as appropriate.

Graduate Thesis II

This course is designed to help students articulate and execute a body of work that is the culmination of his/her graduate study experience. Students should be able to synthesize external factors – such as technological, global, environmental issues and trends, including social change – translate them into a form that is meaningful in a business setting, and create relevant design solutions. “Relevant” in this context requires that students’ design solutions resonate with an identified market segment, from all design and functional standpoints.

Graduate Thesis II is a self-driven, studio course where each student will follow a design development path that commences with a rigorous research phase. A business case and/or a creative brief will grow out of the research findings and will serve as the plan of work for the completion of the Thesis. Students will be expected to work through the subsequent phases, each phase resulting in a high-quality set of deliverables, culminating in a final presentation that will be either digitally created or hand-built as appropriate.

The Thesis deliverables will consist of:

  1. A written and bound document that articulates the business context and the supportive research relating to a specific topic and/or studio project
  2. A studio-based, design artifact (singular or multiple) in a 2D, 3D and/or digital form
  3. A final oral and visual thesis presentation to the Graduate Thesis Review Committee
  4. A Thesis exhibit at the Graduate Thesis Exhibition

 

 

Designed and created by DDM Marketing & Communications.